One cigarette a day increases the risk of early death

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, a study says.

Evangelical Focus

NIH, Protestante Digital · WASHINGTON D.C. · 07 DECEMBER 2016 · 13:09 CET


People who steadily smoke a daily average of just one cigarette over their lifetime, have a 64% higher risk of death than those who have never smoked, according to a study released in the US.

Those who have smoked between one and ten cigarettes a day, have an 87% higher risk of early death than people who have not smoked, a research by the USA National Cancer Institute says.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, also points out that the risks are not only lower for low-intensity former smokers, but decrease if they quit at an early age.



“The results of this study support health warnings that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke”, Maki Inoue-Choi, the lead author of the study, states.

Additionally, the researchers explain that the fidings "provide further evidence that smoking cessation benefits all smokers, regardless of how few cigarettes they smoke.”

At least six million people die each year from cigarettes.The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that if this trend continues, more than 1 billion deaths will be associated with tobacco in this century.



The researchers analysed the cases of 290,215 adults between the ages of 59 and 82, based on a questionnaire to assess the intensity with which they had smoked from adolescence until after the age of 70.

In the group, 7.7% continued to smoke, while 53.9% had quit and 38.4% had never smoked.

When researchers looked at specific causes of death among study participants, a particularly strong association was observed for lung cancer mortality: among those who smoked from one to ten cigarettes per day, the risk of dying from that disease was about 12 times higher than among those who had not.

In the case of those who had consistently consumed less than one cigarette per day, this risk was nine times greater.


The experts also analysed the risk of mortality from respiratory, such as emphysema, as well as the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.

Thus, they found that people who had smoked moderately had over six times risk than non-smokers of dying from a respiratory disease. In the case of cardiovascular diseases, this probability was 1.5 times higher.

For Inoue-Choi, "these findings indicate that smoking even a small number of cigarettes per day has substantial negative health effects".

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